E-commerce is an opportunity to expand market, retailers told
RETAILERS should not be threatened by the rise of electronic commerce (e-commerce) in the Philippines and instead see this as an opportunity to expand their market.
Michael Hong, Mini Depato Corp. president, the master franchisee of MINISO stores in the Philippines, gave this advice when asked to comment about the future of retail amid an evolving digital landscape in the country.
“Online selling is something we can use as retailers to reach out to more customers,” Hong told reporters last Friday on the sidelines of the opening of Japanese designer brand MINISO’s first store in Cebu City, its 36th outlet in the Philippines.
Located on the second level of SM City Cebu, MINISO’s 36th store in the country boasts of a 560-square meter floor area, big enough to showcase products across nine different categories — life essentials, creative home necessities, health and beauty, jewelry, stylistic gifts, seasonal products, boutique package decoration, digital accessories, as well as food and drink.
Hong shared that they plan to open 300 to 500 stores in the Philippines in the next five years, with no focus on any particular region.
Among the factors they consider when opening a new store are the population of an area and the availability of prime spaces there.
“As long as there are crowds in the malls, we will go there. We don’t care about buying power because the products we offer are very affordable,” he said.
Headquartered in Tokyo, Japan, MINISO was jointly founded by chief designer Miyake Jyunya and Chinese entrepreneur Ye Guofu in 2011.
Since then, it has opened more than 1,000 stores all over the world with over 80 percent of the brand’s product designs originating from Japan, Korea, Singapore, Malaysia, China, and other countries.
Hong said that with more people gaining access to the internet and the growing preference of consumers to make their purchases online, the company is also looking into using the digital platform for sales.
He said that in the Philippines, for example, they can partner with online buy-and-sell platforms such as Lazada.
Hong said that MINISO has not entered into a formal agreement with these platforms yet and that products from the brand currently sold online are being distributed illegally.
Nonetheless, he said that collaborating with these online marketplaces is something they are seriously considering, although they have not set a timeline for it yet.
“It will all depend on the development of online selling here in the Philippines,” said Hong.
The growing global e-commerce industry has hurt traditional retail stores that have not caught up with the trend, of online shopping platforms such as Amazon, which now have the lion’s share of the market in the US.
China’s Alibaba is also trailing behind as one of the most-used online shopping platform in the world.
According to market research firm Euromonitor International, new digital services are seen to propel digital commerce growth. Key trends regarding the digital consumer should remain top priority for businesses worldwide.
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